COVID 19 – Phase Two Continued
Part Four: Shifting Gears from Crisis Response to Strategic Planning
Today is fifty-some days of social distancing. It is hard to believe that we have been in this stage for so long already. If you are beginning to feel weary, confused, overwhelmed and exhausted as a leader, this totally makes sense. Your feelings are normal and predictable.
Fifty-some days ago, you went into “crisis mode.” As you entered crisis mode, there was a flurry of information to process and a rush of decisions to be made. As my colleague Ryan and I recently discussed, it was the right gear to shift into, but it is also a gear you can’t be in for too long.
As a result, the weariness, lostness, confusion, and even discouragement you may be feeling are not unusual or a sign that there is something abnormal with you. In fact, these feelings are to be expected. They are simply an indicator that you were in the right mode/gear for the road you were on. The challenge is, this road isn’t at its end and there are still many miles ahead. As a result, we need to find a new gear for the long haul (no one knows how long this road will be, but it is months not weeks until we will be able to gather in larger numbers again).
I don’t know what that specifically looks like for you (your role, your church, your ministry, etc.), but I do know that preparing for a short road trip looks different than a long one. You plan different, you prepare different, you have a different mentality and expectations going in. It is time (if you haven’t started already) to repack and prepare for the long road ahead.
It is time to shift gears!
In the coming weeks (if you have not already done so), I would challenge you to begin shifting from crisis mode to strategic planning mode. Take time with your team and begin creating or readjusting for a long-term exclusively online strategy of ministry, pastoral care, community engagement, staffing, budget, etc. to make it through the long journey ahead.
I don’t say any of this to add stress or anxiety in you. Instead, I write with words of hope, that a different and more sustainable gear is possible. And with an encouragement that it is time to press the clutch (slow down, think, pray and rest) and shift gears into the one that strategically plans for the long road ahead, trusting that God will lead you forward.
As I said early on in this crisis, this will most likely be the most difficult season of your leadership life and career but is also holds the possibility to be the most meaningful and fruitful. Consequently, it is time to lead with unprecedented dependence on the Holy Spirit, humility and courage.
Shift gears and lead on!